The California Wellness Foundation is proud to present its 2011 California Peace Prize honorees. Each receives a cash award of $25,000 as an acknowledgment of their commitment to prevent violence and promote peace in their communities.
Ray Balberan is an expert at bringing city leaders, law enforcement officials, caseworkers and community members together to create lifesaving programs. Now retired, Balberan continues to build on more than three decades of achievement in violence prevention through advocacy and mentorship. He consults for Arriba Juntos' Northwest Community Response Network, a San Francisco collaborative that coordinates street outreach, health, re-entry and other services for youth and families. Balberan also consults with La Clínica de la Raza, which has locations throughout Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties.
Priscilla Carrasquilla deeply values forgiveness and providing support to young people who are ready for change. For 15 years, she ran the Clean Slate Tattoo Removal Program at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) in partnership with the city of San Jose, Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force. The program removes gang tattoos, which can often inhibit young people from trying to get ahead or search for jobs.
Manuel Jimenez is an agricultural expert and lifelong Woodlake resident who provides direction to youth — teaching them about responsibility, leadership, confidence and respect through gardening. In 1993, Jimenez and his wife, Olga, founded Woodlake Pride, a completely volunteer-run organization that prevents violence in the community by putting youth to work. Originally conceived as a graffiti-removal program, Jimenez soon realized he could put his expertise as a small-farms advisor to great use by engaging the youth in community gardening projects.